Technical boss upbeat after signs of progress in Monte Carlo
Although Monaco ended with a disappointing double retirement for the Spyker team, on a positive note Adrian Sutil underlined his potential by topping the times on a damp Saturday morning, and racing with the Toyotas and Super Aguris on Sunday. Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne gives his verdict...
Q: Did you enjoy the Monaco weekend overall?
Mike Gascoyne: Yes, I think everyone enjoyed it, and we were buoyed by Adrians performance on Saturday. The guys are a bit disappointed by the result, but we were racing at the end of the day, not just making up the numbers.
Q: Was it frustrating to have two retirements?
MG: It was a disappointing end to a much better weekend, really. With Adrian we went for a standard one-stop, and we were racing for the first time this year. He did a pretty good job but his brake pedal was getting soft and he just made a mistake when he went off. That was disappointing for him, because I think hed had a pretty good weekend up to then, particularly with his Saturday performance. It was a shame to have Christijan (Albers) out too as his lap times were good at that point.
Q: At one point Adrian was with Trulli and Davidson, and then he fell back. What happened?
MG: He did drop back off, but it all varied with blue flags and so on and then he picked his pace up again. In the end it looked pretty good, and he was comfortable in front of Schumacher. I think he enjoyed the race until he made a mistake. We would have finished in front of several cars.
Q: You mentioned Adrian topping the times on Saturday morning. Bearing in mind a lot of other cars were also out in the same conditions at the end of the session, are you pleased with that performance?
MG: Exactly. Hamilton was lapping at the same time, so was Raikkonen. We were on the heavy wets and we had a proper fuel level, so it was good. Adrian had a perfect lap, conditions were helpful but it wasnt just pot luck.
Q: What about Christijans race?
MG: We tried to do two stops with Christijan. It was a risk, but from where he was he was going to struggle to do anything as overtaking is practically impossible in Monaco, and we were just really thinking that if we get a safety car at the right time we can maybe do something with strategy. In the last five years there have been four safety cars, so its not a strange or risky strategy as other teams followed the same - if, as in previous years, a safety car period happened, we would have been much better placed.
Q: What happened to him in the end?
MG: A driveshaft boot split and it lost all its grease, and just cooked itself. Its not a problem that weve seen before, but it happens.
Q: How do you see the Montreal and Indianapolis weekends?
MG: Theyre quite different races compared to Monaco! I think we had a much better weekend in Monaco, but we also had a good test at Paul Ricard on the low-downforce circuit, where Adrian looked pretty good. Things are getting a bit better.
Q: Even more than Monaco, Montreal is about safety cars and attrition. Is that one of the teams best chances to score?
MG: Exactly, and weve just to make the most of anything that turns up. We went for it in Monaco, and it didnt work out for us, but well do the same there.
Q: Does it help that theres no testing before then, so the others cant move ahead?
MG: Yes, it keeps the playing field level, and in some respects thats good for us.